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Two economics students receive Best Thesis award

The Department of Economics recognized Michael Keenan and Ameya Benegal for writing the best economics theses of the year.

Seniors Michael Keenan and Ameya Benegal were honored with the Best Thesis award from the Department of Economics in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business.

Keenan, an economics and mathematics double major, and Benegal, an economics and statistics double major, were selected out of 33 seniors majoring in economics or international economics who successfully completed undergraduate research theses this year.

The senior thesis is the culmination of the economics and international economics majors and serves as the students’ required comprehensive evaluation in the major field of study. For this research project, students work individually with a professor to build on work done in previous courses, culminating in a work of presentation quality.

In “Microfinance, Disasters, and their Impact on Business Outcomes: Evidence from Indonesia,” Keenan explored the impact of microfinance on business outcomes for family businesses in Indonesia. Under the guidance of Professor Steve DeLoach, Keenan analyzed data in the Indonesian Family Life Survey from 1993-2007, a longitudinal survey of households and small businesses, and analyzed the ability of microfinance to help family businesses cope with natural disasters.

In “The Effects of Armed Conflict on the Incidence Rates of Infectious Diseases,” Benegal researched the effects of armed conflicts on the incidence rates of infectious diseases. Under the guidance of Assistant Professor Steven Bednar, Benegal used data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, World Health Organization, World Bank and the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, for the years 1990-2014, to examine how battle-related deaths, deaths from non-state actors, and one-sided conflicts affect the mean death rates of different types of infectious diseases over that time period.

Both Keenan and Benegal presented their theses at the Eastern Economic Association annual conference and Elon’s Student Undergraduate Research Forum. Benegal also presented at the Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Conference.

After graduation, Keenan will attend the Barcelona School of Economics and Benegal will work for RTI International as a researcher.

Nicole Filippo,
5/19/2016 4:55 PM